Former Ragweed singer to appear at Wareham

By Brady Bauman

Cody Canada couldn’t help but be a musician.

Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, Canada’s parents divorced when he was 13, giving him plenty of emotion to write and sing about.

It was 1989, the Seattle music scene of Pearl Jam and grunge rock — sounds deep in lyrical angst, and sounds Canada has said he was very alert to — was just beginning.

Canada, who was already writing songs at age 11, continued to devote his energy to music throughout his teen years – to the point that he was kicked out of high school two weeks before graduation.

He helped form the band Cross Canadian Ragweed, with its “red-dirt country” and country-rock sound, in 1994, and he and his bandmates went to Stillwater, Okla., to try to make a living.

He said he never thought about doing anything besides music and didn’t worry about not succeeding. As long as he could write songs and had a guitar handy, life was going well, he said.

“I’m a pretty determined person,” he said in a phone interview with The Mercury. “If I have something on my mind, I’m going to do it or die trying, and I’m still alive.”

Cross Canadian Ragweed gained a local following. Eventually, it began to see radio airplay and get national attention.

At its height, the band’s 2004 album, Soul Gravy, debuted at No. 4 on the Country Billboard charts and included “Alabama” and “Sick and Tired” — two of the band’s more well known tracks.

After CCR separated in 2010, Canada formed The Departed, where once again he is the lead on vocals and guitar.

Canada, now 37, said it was hard to leave CCR.

When the band split in 2010 it was because drummer Randy Ragsdale, who had a 10-year-old son with autism at the time, needed to spend more time with family.

Canada has said the band name (based on the names of its members) couldn’t stick without its original lineup.

Nonetheless, there’s still a little bit of the old band to The Departed. Jeremy Plato, who did vocals and bass for CCR, is back performing the same duties for The Departed.

“We wanted a life of our own,” Canada said about his new group. “If feels good to do old songs and feels good to do our new songs. (With Jeremy) it feels like an old pair of shoes. But for years I think we’ve been searching for something, and now I think we’ve found it.”

That’s not to say, though, that Canada wasn’t worried about the future after CCR disbanded.

“There were two days that I was really worried,” he said. “There were days I was worried if it would ever be the same. But when Jeremy and I got to talking about what we were going to do, I wasn’t worried anymore. He just said, ‘Man, let’s just do our songs. Write new ones. Do the old ones, and continue on.’”

Friday night Canada brings The Departed to Manhattan with an 8 p.m. show inside the Wareham Opera House. Tickets are $12.

He said the show may go more than two hours, as opposed to the 90 minute sets he’s often been contractually held to.

“We’ll cover all bases,” Canada said. “We’ll do old songs and new songs. We’re really covering it all.”

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